Chapter One
Part One

Subj: Re: Why a Princess? (aka: Where I live...)
Date: 99-01-12 23:55:19 EST

I'm a princess for a very good reason, FlyGuy. You see, I live in this fairy tale cottage on the edge of town. Going up the driveway, its like you've reached the end of the world, and suddenly, out of nowhere, heaven emerges in the form of a pristine white, Victorian cottage, with a sweeping porch and a backyard that descends into a tiny pond until it is eventually overtaken by forest.

This is my paradise: my happily ever after. Of course, on the inside, it's not quite as magical, I'm afraid. For instance, the most noticeable part of the house, as you approach it, is what I have affectionately dubbed "my tower." More fairy tales, I know. It's actually only an alcove, with a sweeping bay window. This is where the fairy tale both begins and ends.

It is this "room" that made me fall in love with this house. It brought me back to my childhood, but gave me the peace and safety I'd never found before. Everything finally fell into place, 'ya know? I can't believe I'm telling you all of this... ;)

This is the very first place I've ever felt truly at home. Here, in my "tower," in an armchair, bathed in candlelight, moonlight, and the glow from my laptop, blasting Lisa Loeb into the night air....

In an open room that echoes well, this is where I can tell you everything

This is where I meet my muse, and it feeds me.
This is how I buy the sun, and it feeds me.
This is why I burn this candle, I light it so that I can handle this.
You're so still, you're so safe....

I'm so still
I'm so safe,
appear severe,
I am not....

Stand still,
I save face.
I misplace all the feelings I can't hide....

...and I'm at home. And I'm at peace...Wherever you are, FG, I hope you are, too.
Sweet dreams...
-BB :)

Brenda Barrett paused thoughtfully, before clicking the mouse to "send." She smiled, relishing her secret, as her words and her wishes flew thousands upon thousands of miles away from her. Music swirled around her, and she shut her laptop, and headed toward her bedroom, to a different fairy tale, a land of dreams and make-believe, a land that she inhabited during the precious and fleeting moments of unconsciousness, a land where she dwelled alone...with FlyGuy.

...Of all the rooms I've loved before it's you I love inside this room....
Of all the rooms I've loved before,
it's you I love.
This is how I meet my muse.


Chapter One
Part Two

His blue eyes burned a fiery trail over her words, and Jasper "Jax" Jacks ran a tanned hand through his golden curls. Laying back against the oak headboard in the bedroom of his Moscow apartment, Jax absorbed the scene around him. File folders and stock portfolios were strewn across the bed, and although he desperately needed to prepare for the numerous meetings he'd be attending over the next few days, he had finally given into the urge to check his email. The only letter was from her.

He'd only set up an American Online account as a joke, an escape, a chance to be anonymous. He always got a kick out of seeing his name and face plastered across the online headlines, and knowing that no one had a clue that was really the infamous, international tycoon, playboy, and corporate raider, Jasper Jacks. He had numerous email accounts, most of them accessed more frequently by his secretaries and assistants than by him, and a personal email account at where he kept in touch with his family, but nothing like this.

Jax had ventured into chat rooms occasionally, usually discussing business and the stock market, surrounded by over-fed salesmen and under-paid secretaries. It was only by accident that he had entered the music-lovers chatroom, where he stepped directly onto a cyber-battlefield. The princess, PrncessBB, had been in desperate need of rescuing , and so he stepped up to the plate, as knight in shining armor. The entire chatroom was arguing with her, as she defended the legitimacy of the independent record label, and after they "fought the good fight," she disappeared from the list of inhabitants of the chatroom.

Two days went by before he heard from her again, before it all began, in the form of a polite, well-intentioned email, sent and received two weeks ago.

Subj: My Knight in Shining Armor
Date: 98-12-29 13:22:54 EST

Hi! You might not remember me from the other night, but I was in the music lovers chatroom and you helped me stand up for independent record labels. Ring a bell? Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for coming to my rescue in there. Every princess needs a knight in shining armor, right? And you must be mine. ;)
Since you were in the music chat...what kind of music do you listen to? Just curious.
Thanks again,
PrncessBB :)

Naturally Jax had replied to her letter, and they'd probably written back and forth at least ten times in the past 14 days, incorporating music into the conversation at least a little bit. They had agreed not to disclose their names or any personal information, and to only discuss meaningless topics. But the more he talked to her, the more Jax found that no matter how unimportant the topic, nothing "BB" said seemed meaningless to him.

Hitting the "reply" button, Jax poised his strong fingers over the keyboard and began typing.

Subj: A Music Fan?
Date: 99-01-16 10:48:31 EST

*YOU*? Blasting music at a probably un-godly hour of the night? I'm shocked! j/k :) Seriously, I've always liked Lisa Loeb, too. You're just lucky that you live out in the middle of nowhere. my neighbors would be less than pleased. ;)

I must tell you that you're description of peace and quiet and home came just in the nick of time. I'm very sorry that I haven't gotten back to you sooner, but I've been tied up in meetings in...well, it's not important where. Halfway around the globe would probably be an accurate description; its a completely different world. I can't tell you how many times during these damned meetings that I've wished to be talking with you, from a tower of my own, or talking with you in your tower...

I completely understand, though, about wanting a place for yourself-a place to be yourself. I guess we're lucky we've both found that. And it is an extraordinary feeling, like lightning striking, the stars aligning, the fates conspiring in your favor.

Lately though, my paradise is much less tangible than yours, I'm afraid. It's here, in this cyber-limbo where you exist as mere words on a screen. But in my mind, you're so much more. A person-a beautiful, spiritual, soulful person-whose words swim in my head for hours on end. I could drown in your letters.

I'm sorry. Really, I am. It's so late here, and I'm tired and....I've never done anything like this before, and it's hard because I really want to get to know you better, but out little agreement seems to hinder that, though every bit of information you send to me adds life and color to the picture of you in my mind.

As I said, paradise, right now, is fleeting. Just being able to be myself with you is worth more to me than any number of tropical umbrella drinks. You know what I'm saying.... :)

And so, in tribute to you, and my neighbors be damned, I'm "blasting" my music.

Do I know you from somewhere
Why do you leave me wanting more
Why do all the things I say
Sound like the stupid things I've said before

...I close my eyes
I need to make a connection
I'm walking on a thin line....

Tell me, BB...Can you hear it, wherever you are?

Jax sent his email, closed his laptop. and pulled back the covers on the bed. As he rolled over, his hand absently reached for one of the file folders, one of his latest victims, the product of his latest inspiration: L&B Records.

(Song Credits: This by Lisa Loeb and Skin by Madonna)